Friday, April 29, 2016

Brioche Pastries

Do you remember the Bruffins I blogged about just before Easter?  Well, I couldn't get that delicious and easy to make brioche dough out of my head so decided I would make another batch and try a few sweet brioche pastry recipes.  Three, to be exact!  My adventures in brioche dough...:)

Cherry Brioche Snails, above, made with pastry cream and plumped dried cherries flamed with rum.

Danish-style pastries filled with Pastry Cream, Raspberry - Hibiscus Preserves and Almonds.

These were my favorite! Brioche dough patted into my small, removable bottom tart pans, and filled with pastry cream, raspberry and hibiscus preserves and topped with a sugary almond/egg white slurry.


Chocolate-Almond Cinnamon Swirl Muffins.  Bits of chopped chocolate, almonds and cinnamon sugar wrapped in brioche dough, and shaped into muffins.

I like mine topped with a pat of sweet butter. Great for breakfast or tea!

Speaking of tea, have your tried Yogi 'Joint Comfort' tea with Turmeric? I'm not fond of the taste of turmeric on its own but this decaf green tea also has lemongrass and peppermint leaf for a refreshing, bright taste. It's my new favorite tea!

Before I leave you with my three brioche pastry recipes, I'd like to thank Stephanie at The Glamorous Gourmet for the beautiful Williams Sonoma Market Herb Wreath!  I was the lucky winner of her giveaway this month and it is now hanging in the window above my kitchen sink.  If you enjoy wine, Stephanie is a certified sommelier who dishes up some great recipes and wine recommendations. Thank
you again, Stephanie!

Here are the links to each of the three recipes above.

Cherry Snails:

Danish- Style Pastries:

Chocolate-Almond Cinnamon Swirl Muffins:

Happy Baking!

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Spring Rolls with Shrimp ~ Spring Celebrations

What can be more fitting for a special luncheon in spring than Spring Rolls with Shrimp!  

Hello, Friends! We have just finished celebrating three family birthdays and a return-to-work celebration over the past three weeks! Fun times, busy times, special family times!  The first celebration started with our daughter's last maternity leave luncheon with us.  I wanted to make it very special for her, so I chose these delicious spring rolls with two kinds of dipping sauce. Recipes to follow.

The next celebration was a combination birthday party for yours truly (last week of March) and my husband, whose birthday follows exactly one week later. The most recent party was this past weekend, for our oldest daughter's birthday (one week after my husband's), which was also combined with a belated Easter egg hunt for our two oldest grandsons who were out of town over Easter.

Needless to say,  that's a lot of celebrating and a lot of cooking and entertaining! The most memorable recipe from the birthday dinners was the Grilled Beef Tenderloin with Cabernet Sauce with Frizzled Leeks.  Desserts included Lemon Tart with Pine Nut Crust for and Strawberry Lemonade Cake made this time with a Chiffon Cake base.  (Click on links for recipes). We have been eating very well!

The next week or so we will be eating lighter meals and salads such as these wonderful spring rolls, that I can't wait to make again.  We all loved them, especially with the Hoisin dipping sauce with chopped peanuts. Delicious!

The nice thing about spring rolls as you can fill them with whatever ingredients that sound good to you!  A combination of finely sliced vegetables and lettuces or cabbage, chopped herbs, and either cooked shrimp or chicken. Or, keep them vegetarian if you like!

Please don't place your spring rolls on a bed of cilantro as I did!  The cilantro stuck to the spring rolls and had to be picked off by hand. Lesson learned!

Spring Rolls with Shrimp

Printable Recipe

Serves approximately 4-5
Makes about 10-12 spring rolls, depending on how much filling you use.

6 ounces of dry rice vermicelli (rice sticks), cooked
About 20 large shrimp, cook, peeled, deveined and sliced in half cross-wise (I use Ina Garten's cooking method)
10 rice paper wrappers (round or square, round makes slightly smaller rolls)
3/4 cup carrots, peeled and coarsely shredded
3/4 cup seedless cucumber, peeled and finely julienned
3/4 cup of snow peas, thinly sliced on the bias
1-1/2 tablespoons olive oil
8 ounces of shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and caps thinly sliced
1 large shallot, diced
1/4 cup fresh mint leaves, thinly sliced
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, thinly sliced
1/4 cup fresh basil, thinly sliced
1 cup of baby lettuce leaves or finely sliced Napa cabbage (which I used)

Chopped peanuts for garnish
Hoisin Sauce (recipe follows) for dipping
Fish Sauce (recipe follows) for dipping

Cook and prepare shrimp (can be done the day before).

Clean and slice all vegetables and herbs.

Add water to a medium saucepan (large enough to hold rice sticks) and bring to a boil. Boil rice vermicelli 4 to 5 minutes, or until al dente. Drain, rinse starch off with cold water, and drain again. Cut into 4-5 inch lengths. Cover and set aside.

Heat the olive oil in a medium skillet. Saute mushrooms until soft, about 5 minutes. Remove to a bowl. Saute the chopped shallot in the same pan until soft and slightly browned. Toss with the mushrooms and set aside.

Have all of the fillings on the counter-top, ready to use when you start making the spring rolls.

Fill a large frying pan or bowl with warm water. Take one rice wrapper and dip it into the water for a second or two and remove to a cutting board. Do not leave in water longer than necessary or it could disintegrate.

Wait a few seconds for the wrapper to soften. Then, in the lower third half of the rice wrapper, closest to you, stack the ingredients in a horizontal row across, leaving about 2 inches uncovered on each side. Start with 3 shrimp halves, then add a few strands of vermicelli, 1 tablespoon each shredded carrots, cucumbers, snow peas and mushrooms/shallots, then add 1/2 teaspoon each of mint, cilantro, basil, then 2-3 baby lettuce leaves. Fold uncovered sides inward over the filling, then tightly roll the wrapper away from you.

Repeat until the ingredients are used. Place each roll into a covered storage container as you work so they do not dry out. Refrigerate until time to serve.

Serve with chopped peanuts and either or both of the dipping sauces below.

Hoisin Dipping Sauce (our favorite)

1 cup (8 oz) Hoisin sauce
1/4 cup smooth peanut butter
1 Tbs rice vinegar
2 garlic, crushed
1 heaping teaspoon Thai Garlic Chili Sauce to taste

Fish Sauce Dressing

2 tablespoons fish sauce
1 1/2 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon water or rice vinegar
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon chopped cilantro
1 garlic clove - mined
1 generous teaspoon Thai Garlic Chili Sauce to taste

Notes: This recipe is adapted from several recipes to include the ingredients we like. Feel free to add bean sprouts, diced green onions, or whatever vegetables you like. Spring rolls may be slice in half diagonally to serve.